Renewing the mind: Have you lost your mind?

Recently while reflecting on the early days of my journey of faith as a Christian believer, I thought of an expression associated with renewing the mind, the ongoing process that every Christian must understand since we apply these principles of renewal every moment of every day. Whether spoken of as “putting off the old and putting on the new” or “putting on the mind of Christ,” the Word of God commands us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds, according to Romans 12:1-2. Literally, we are to transform ourselves, as we prove “what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

In thinking about this vital process, I recall a previous blog post where I examined a Phrase of the Day related to the state mind of someone whose behavior we are attempting to understand:

“Have you lost your mind?”

Individuals sometime may ask this rhetorical question in a state of utter disbelief, as they attempt to understand the seemingly bizarre behavior of the person to whom the question is addressed. To lose your mind” generally means to “to become mentally ill” or “to start behaving in an utterly foolish or strange way.”

In thinking about the expression, I also recall a specific occasion when someone warned me about the possibility of “losing my mind.” After being drafted into the Army during the late 1960s, I experienced salvation through a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. During this time an Army buddy noticed that I was always reading the Bible and talking about God and spiritual matters to the degree that seemed too much for a person with a sound mind. In all seriousness, he pulled me aside and said, “Johnson, if you keeping studying the Bible so much, you’re going to ‘lose your mind.’”

Immediately, I went on the defensive and explained when I was in college, I devoted much more time and exerted much more effort in studying to earn my degree in pharmacy, and I didn’t lose my mind then. “Why should I lose my mind from studying the Bible?” I asked.

After a period of time, however, something strange began to happen. I started to “lose my mind,” but I began replacing it with a new mind. In studying the Scriptures, I discovered the concept of “renewing the mind.”

In nature we note the process of metamorphosis that butterflies and other organisms undergo, reminding us that, similarly, Romans 12:1-2 instructs believers not to be conformed but to be transformed by the renewing of their minds. The New Testament phrase is translated from the Greek word metamorphoo, the root of the English word metamorphosis. The phrase also expresses that as believers strive to manifest more of Christ in their lives, they are “changed into the same image.”

Butterflies as they undergo metamorphosis are transformed from egg to larva or caterpillar to chrysalis (cocoon) to butterfly (adult). Christian believers also continually undergo a similar spiritual transformation as they mature in Christ. The essence of this amazing process we express in this poem:

As We Renew our Mind

Do not lie to one another, for you have stripped
off the old self with its evil practices, 10 and have put on the new [spiritual] self who is being continually renewed in true knowledgein the image of Him who created the new self—

Colossians 3:9-10 (AMP)

We know that the key to power is renewing the mind,
But to find the key to release this power help us to see,
For we seek to walk in power and excel and not be left behind,
As we strive to know deeper levels of intimacy.
With laser precision we now target our old nature
And put to death and mortify our members once for all.
We respond in obedience in answer to God’s call;
Not conformed, we transform ourselves, to become new, mature.
In the secret place of the Lord who ever inhabits
The praises of His people, here we desire to abide,
To put off the old man, vile, corrupt, wrapped in sinful pride
And put on the new man, as one changes garments, habits.
Above all we put on compassionate love from the start
And abide in our hiding place, filled with a grateful heart.

Integrity Music offers this Scripture Memory Song “Do not be conformed Romans 12:1-2 and Ephesians 4:23.”

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